The Sims 4 has had more DLC than any of the other game in the franchise so far. But with so many packs to choose from, it can be hard to know what packs to buy, or which to prioritize. Expansion Packs differ from other packs because they offer more large, game-changing features like new worlds, systems, and activities, along with the typical Create-a-Sim and Build-Buy items.
The longevity and play value of any pack will depend a lot on player preferences, but every pack has its pros and cons. If you’re looking for a starting point, here are the best features from every Expansion Pack released so far.
11 Get to Work: Active Careers
Get to Work not only brought back classic careers that were lacking in the base game, but also added the option to play them either actively or passively. Active careers are a much more involved way to determine what kind of employee your Sim will be. It’s also nice to have them actually meet Sims at and build relationships while they work.
The careers are scientist, detective, and doctor. Retail could also be considered an active career, but it’s off this list because you get a similar effect running a Vet Clinic in Cats and Dogs, or purchasing a restaurant in Dine Out.
10 Get Together: Clubs
Windenburg comes equipped with a few long-standing clubs, but the best opportunities for creativity come from making your own. Clubs can be created for pretty much any purpose, and Sims who are children or older can partake. You can also set entry requirements like career, relationship status, or skills, and there’s even an option to make your clubs invite-only.
Perform enough of your club’s selected actions, and you'll earn club perks, ranging from flags and posters to secret handshakes and greetings. Plus, clubs with good reputations will have more social influence.
9 City Living: Festivals
Alas, apartments are not the best feature in The Sims 4: City Living, because they function essentially like any other house. You can’t have apartments in different worlds, and you can’t add apartments from the gallery without deleting all the doors first. You couldn’t even have roommates until Discover University.
However, you can attend festivals from any world, and they actually tend to be populated. The City Living festivals add more culturally specific items including food, and clothing as well as offer new activities which are too often overlooked. Plus, the new death by Pufferfish Ngiri, a food found at festivals, is still one of the best.
8 Cats and Dogs: Pets
Between having pets in the game again, and the super detailed Create-a-Pet feature that lets you (kind of) create animals like raccoons and foxes, you can customize your pets more than ever before. That softens the blow of there only being cats and dogs.
Pets even have Obsessions and Quirks, which can impact how they react to specific items.
The Vet Clinic is one of those features that is sometimes better on paper than in play (it can be despairingly difficult to ever reach level 5), but having pets be able to get sick and actually see the vet adds a neat touch of realism to pet ownership.
7 Seasons: The Calendar
Seasons themselves are a lot of fun, but they don’t transform gameplay quite like the Calendar does. The Calendar lets you add or change Holidays and Events, check the weather (including temperature and weather warnings, like Heat Waves), and even keeps track of Sim birthdays and work or school schedules.
Existing holidays can easily be changed or deleted (a helpful tool to have if you like to change the Season Length often, since that sometimes jumbles all the premade holidays), and new holidays are easy to create. Set all the parameters and Sims will be prompted to attend the event when it rolls around.
6 Get Famous: The Fame System
The fame system is incredibly detailed in Get Famous, and it’s great that it works across packs meaning you can earn fame for almost anything. Perks and Quirks are reminiscent of the ones Vampires and Spellcasters use to determine their Supernatural personas, and this system makes creating different types of celebrities fun and easy.
Reputation is also a factor, with Good and Bad reputations unlocking their own tiers on the celebrity Perks system – plus, a whole host of other opportunities for Sims of all persuasions.
5 Island Living: Sulani
The Sims 4: Island Living added a handful of small features that really enliven the game; Odd Jobs, mermaids (which arguably could have been a larger feature), and new events and neighborhood dynamics. However, the world of Sulani is far and away the best thing about this pack.
The world is already gorgeous, but the Conservation career allows players to actually see Mua Pel'am improve as they pick up trash to make the island beautiful again. Outside of work hours, all the new activities – snorkeling, boating, diving, jet-skiing, beach-visiting, and so many more – make this place truly amazing.
4 Discover University: Attending University
Part of what makes the university system so great is the sheer number of adjacent features it comes with. A gorgeous world, two different campuses that interact well with each other, clubs and extracurricular activities, and even a roommate system. So many of the features in this pack are ones that Simmers wanted with other packs, which makes it feel very fleshed out. Plus, Discover University has (mostly) improved substantially on previous university-type systems.
Distinguished and Regular degrees are new, as are the variety of clubs your Sims can join which have implications for their post-university lives. Sims of any age between Young Adult and Elder can attend University, and you can attend as many times as you’d like. Students also have a variety of different assignment types.
3 Eco Lifestyle: Eco-friendly Objects
While Eco Lifestyle's new craftables have an eco-specific spin, their play value applies to many Sims in any world. Eco Lifestyle added a ton of new eco-friendly devices perfect for off-the-grid gameplay, like a dew collector and solar panels. Plus, even walls and flooring affect your eco-footprint now.
Eco-friendly Sims can not only save water or power; they can also save money on their bills by collecting their own resources. There are, of course, less eco-friendly off-grid options (like fuel-powered generators), so even off the grid Sims can sway an Industrial eco-footprint.
2 Snowy Escape: Lifestyles
Sims achieve Lifestyles through their habits and routines, which makes them feel much more organic as these are unique to each Sim. A Sim can only have three lifestyles at one time, but they can change or decay fairly quickly, depending on what your Sim does with their time. They can also be changed via a potion from the Rewards Store, so there’s a good mix between organic development and player control.
Different lifestyles have a variety of different effect on Sims, including increasing or decreasing skill and friendship gains, neat buffs, new conversation opportunities, and even increased work performance.
1 Cottage Living: Raising Livestock
Cottage Living packs a lot of animals into the experience. Chickens, cows, and llamas are the big three that you can raise as livestock, in new Coop and Shed items that can be placed right on your home lot.
You can bond with your animals, collect produce (eggs, milk, and wool, respectively), and show them in contests for fun prizes. You can even feed your animals treats, which can change their coloring. Animal products can also be used toward new pack-related activities: wool is necessary for cross-stitching, and eggs and milk are great for cooking, especially with the new Simple Living lot challenge.
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